Dear Trojan families,
Thank you so much for all the words of support and encouragement that you have sent our way this week. I want you to know how much that energizes the faculty, staff and administrators who are working around the clock to make the new academic year one that will support all of our students with a best-in-class experience despite the challenges of a global pandemic.
I want to give you a glimpse into our work this week. In the Lower School, Ms. McNutt and the teachers continue to prepare their classrooms and their lessons so that our young learners can thrive. With the news of the shift to remote learning, they are creating a new format for the first week of school that will build connections between students and teachers, assess for understanding, and ease the anxiety of returning to school in these unusual circumstances. Lower School students can expect a more synchronous day this fall in their remote learning. We have some great surprises in store for our youngest learners!
In the Middle School, Mr. Snyder has also been working with the faculty to design a new introduction to school. Middle School students likely will be both nervous and anxious about returning to school. We are being very mindful of the importance of helping them navigate their social world as well as their academic pursuits. Middle School faculty have also been meeting throughout the week to plan for the pivot to remote learning. Middle School students can expect to follow our typical six-day rotation schedule. Our goal is to increase synchronous class time as well as opportunities for smaller synchronous sessions with greater teacher-student interaction and feedback.
In the Upper School, Mr. Kahuda and the faculty are planning for much more synchronous learning as well as we begin in this new mode and new year. Our oldest students will experience the rigorous academic coursework that they have come to expect from the TVS program. The Upper School is actively working to develop ways to work with smaller groups in order to facilitate greater student engagement. This helps us to provide exemplary interaction between students and teachers so that mastery of content can be achieved. Mr. Kahuda is also emphasizing ways that students and faculty can find joy in their work together even when we are apart. We know that flexibility and adaptability are key skills that we must all embrace now and in the future.
Our physical education and athletics team is also hard at work preparing for our new year. Healthy physical activity is essential for all of our learners. We know that students are set up for success when they have active minds and active bodies. As we move into the remote learning period, our physical education teachers will also teach synchronous P.E. classes. Students will join their P.E. class from their home, backyard, or wherever they might be to engage with their teacher and their classmates.
I know that our athletes are eagerly awaiting news of this season. The order from Tarrant County allows for outdoor activities provided students wear face coverings and socially distance from each other (at least six feet). This makes much of what we had planned for practice not feasible at the very beginning of the school year. However, beginning in mid-August we will offer strength and conditioning with the same protocols established this summer. We are also working closely with SPC, TAPPS, and the UIL as well as the Tarrant County Department of Health to gain clarification on how and when we may be able to begin sport specific practices. This is a key topic in my regular meetings with fellow heads of school in Fort Worth and throughout our conference. Please know that we want our student athletes to be able to practice and play. We must be sure that they can do so safely.
Next Friday, our Reopening communication will include detailed letters from the division heads with their plans for remote learning. They will provide a road map of a student's day in remote learning so that you can better understand how this fall will differ from the remote learning of Spring 2020 when teachers at TVS and across the nation embarked in a sudden shift into "crisis remote teaching." Faculty have spent a considerable amount of time over the summer taking courses and preparing for this modality of teaching. We had truly hoped that it might come a little later, but we are ready now.
This has been quite a week and, indeed, quite a summer. I have heard from many of you and know how disappointing the news about remote learning has been. I am working towards showing our local officials the plans we have in place for on-campus learning. I feel that it is important for our school and for the Fort Worth community that we share these plans and what we have learned this summer about our protocols and our readiness.
We continue to finish the work on our learning spaces so that when the order is lifted, our students will have thoughtfully prepared spaces which will fit their unique needs. Our calendar for completion has not changed. We are ready for every eventuality.
Your faith in the school and the knowledge that we are Trojans together makes everything possible. That is, after all, what education is all about. The possible. We will come through this. Our children will continue to grow and thrive. We will grow closer as a community.
Head of School